“How do you do it?” Is a question we got asked a lot during the first year of the twins lives. I presume people would look at us with the twins in the double buggy and Finlay standing on the board and think we are juggling a lot. But I began to quickly realise the people who ask this question don’t want a full run down of our daily lives, they don’t even want to hear about the struggles of trying to feed two babies at the same time. In asking this question they were giving us a compliment. So soon my response would be: “You just get on with it and you would too if you had twins. You can’t put one back!” I’d give a little smile and walk on.
So if you have ever wondered how we do it, I have complied a list of milestones we reached with our twins. Some are similar to singleton milestones but most of them are different. And believe me if you were presented with twins at your twelve week scan you too would be able to “just do it!”
1. The first time you manage to lift both babies up by yourself. Sounds easy, looks cute, but it’s really hard to figure out a technique for picking up two newborns. Practice makes perfect!
2. The day you master the art of feeding them solo. It took me till February (the twins being three months) before I was able to feed them by myself. It was messy. Lots of stopping and starting to wind and they fed at different paces, which was another challenge but we persevered and now they can feed independently!
3. When you leave the house without any help for the first time. I remember the first time I took all three of them out by myself. The twins were three weeks old. I walked five minutes along the road to the local sports centre where there is a small soft play. Finlay played for about an hour and then we both had lunch. The fear that both twins would cry and I wouldn’t know who to go to was quashed as they both slept the entire time. That one trip out instilled me with so much confidence.
4. Learning how to place the babies down gently when carrying them both. Once you’ve mastered the art of picking them both up you then have to master the art of putting them both down. I would always put Isaac down first as he was lighter and Autumn would balance better in my arms. I have to admit there were a few times the landing wasn’t as gentle as I had hoped for but they never incurred an injury so that’s a positive!
5. When they both start to notice each other. I first clocked onto this during the middle of the night feeds. If one baby cried and needed nursed, the other baby who was sleeping soundly, would start stirring from their sleep as soon as you had lifted their twin out of the cot. As they have grown over this past year their bond has developed. They now look for the other when sitting in the pram, they notice when the other has left the room and they especially don’t like to sleep apart. The twin bond is strong.
6. The sad day they no longer share a cot. To save money we decided to opt for the twins to share a cot instead of buying two Moses baskets. Initially they slept side by side and as they grew they then moved to heads meeting in the middle. By about five months they had become too big to share a cot and we made the painful decision to put them into their own cots. It took a good few weeks before they began to settle into a new bedtime routine. They are ok now as long as their cots are side by side.
Taken when the twins were 5 days old.
7. The first birthday. This is a massive milestone for any child and parent. But with twins it poses a few questions I never had to deal with before. Do we get one cake or two? We opted for one as they don’t eat much cake and two would have resulted in too much left over. Do you sing Happy Birthday once or twice? David said once as they don’t know what’s going on. I said twice as they are two individuals. But we ended up singing it once and inserting both names. Maybe as they grow older we will sing it twice. One card and present or two? I was pleased that most people opted for two cards and two presents.
There are many more milestones to come as we journey through the world of twin parenting. I’m not looking forward to having to decide if I keep them in the same Primary class or separate them. But then I am excited to watch as they further develop their twin bond and form a lifelong friendship.